15 Top Vegetarian-Friendly Travel Destinations

Discover 15 top vegetarian-friendly destinations from around the globe. They are abundant in their nutrition and their taste.

15 Top Vegetarian-Friendly Travel Destinations

Vegetarian food is abundant in nutrition.

Vegetarian cuisine emphasises fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains that are packed with essential nutrients.

Travellers can enjoy meals that are not only delicious but also beneficial to their health.

These destinations often boast a wide variety of dining options that cater to these diets.

Many vegetarian-friendly destinations also have a strong wellness culture, offering opportunities for yoga, meditation, and other health-focused activities that complement a plant-based diet.

Even for those who are not strictly vegetarian, visiting a vegetarian-friendly destination can be a culinary adventure.

India particularly, is a haven for vegetarian travellers, offering a rich tapestry of flavours, ingredients, and dishes that are integral to its diverse cultures.

With vegetarianism deeply rooted in many of India’s religious and cultural practices, finding vegetarian food is not only easy but also a delightful culinary adventure.

Gujarat

Gujarat is renowned for its predominantly vegetarian cuisine, thanks to the strong influence of Jain culture and philosophy.

This advocates non-violence and, therefore, vegetarianism.

Hinduism, the majority religion in Gujarat, also promotes a vegetarian diet among many of its followers.

These religious beliefs significantly influence the local cuisine, making vegetarian food widely available and varied.

Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most prominent figures in Indian history and a native of Gujarat, was a staunch vegetarian.

His principles and teachings continue to influence Gujarati society, further promoting vegetarianism as a way of life.

Gujarati cuisine is renowned for its wide array of vegetarian dishes.

The traditional Gujarati thali, which is a platter consisting of various dishes, showcases the diversity and richness of vegetarian food in the region.

It typically includes roti (flatbread), dal or kadhi (lentil soup or yoghurt-based curry), rice, and several vegetable preparations.

Gujarat is famous for its snacks (farsan), such as dhokla, khandvi, and fafda, which are not only vegetarian but also integral to the Gujarati food culture.

These snacks are enjoyed throughout the day and are a testament to the creativity and variety of vegetarian cuisine in the state.

Rajasthan

Rajasthan’s cuisine is a colourful mosaic of vegetarian dishes, developed in the royal kitchens of the Rajputana.

The arid climate has inspired a fascinating variety of dishes that use ingredients that can be stored for long periods.

Signature dishes include gatte ki sabzi (gram flour dumplings in yoghurt curry), ker sangri (a vegetable preparation of desert beans and berries), and dal baati churma (lentils served with

Similar to Gujarat, Rajasthan has a significant influence from Hinduism and Jainism, religions that often advocate for a vegetarian lifestyle.

The principles of ahimsa (non-violence) in Jainism, in particular, promote vegetarianism, influencing the food culture significantly.

Rajasthan is also famous for its vegetarian sweets and snacks.

From the milky delights of Rabri and Ghevar to the savoury crunch of Bikaneri Bhujia, the state offers a variety of vegetarian options that cater to all tastes.

Despite its arid conditions, Rajasthan has a tradition of growing its produce, such as pulses, millets (like bajra and jowar), and beans, which are central to its vegetarian cuisine.

The reliance on locally sourced ingredients ensures a fresh and flavoursome meal.

Rajasthan celebrates numerous festivals with great fervour, and food plays a central role in these celebrations.

Most of the festive foods are vegetarian, showcasing the state’s rich culinary heritage.

Fasting is a common religious practice in Rajasthan, with many locals observing fasts during which they consume only vegetarian food.

This further enriches the food culture in the state.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu offers a rich variety of vegetarian dishes characterised by their aromatic spices and generous use of lentils, rice, and fresh vegetables.

Traditional meals are served on banana leaves and include idli (steamed rice cakes), dosa (rice and lentil crepes), and sambhar (lentil-based vegetable stew).

The Chettinad region, in particular, is famous for its highly aromatic and spicy style of cooking.

Tamil Nadu is considered a vegetarian-friendly travel destination for a multitude of reasons, deeply rooted in its cultural, religious, and culinary traditions.

The majority of Tamil Nadu’s population practices Hinduism, which often promotes a vegetarian diet, especially among Brahmin communities.

Many Hindus observe vegetarianism as part of their religious practice, especially during festivals and religious days.

Tamil Nadu is famous for its extensive vegetarian cuisine, which is considered one of the healthiest and tastiest in India.

The state is known for its idli, dosa, vada, sambhar, rasam, and a variety of chutneys and rice dishes like lemon rice and tamarind rice, which are inherently vegetarian.

Tamil Nadu’s geography includes fertile plains and coastal areas that are conducive to growing a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.

This abundance ensures a steady supply of fresh ingredients for cooking.

Tamil Nadu has a rich tradition of Ayurveda and Siddha, ancient systems of medicine that often recommend a vegetarian diet for maintaining balance and health.

This has influenced the dietary habits of the local population.

Tamil Nadu celebrates numerous Hindu festivals, such as Pongal, Diwali, and Navaratri, where vegetarian food plays a central role. These occasions showcase

Maharashtra

Maharashtra’s cuisine offers a range of dishes that reflect the state’s diverse geography and communities.

Mumbai, its capital, is famous for street food like pav bhaji (vegetable curry served with bread) and vada pav (potato fritter in bread).

The Konkan coast, with its abundance of coconuts and fresh produce, offers a variety of curries and side dishes.

Maharashtra is home to a diverse population that follows Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and other religions and sects that often promote vegetarianism.

The Jain community, in particular, has a significant influence on the vegetarian food culture in cities like Mumbai and Pune.

Maharashtrian cuisine offers a wide range of dishes that are both unique and delicious.

The state’s cuisine is characterised by its mild to very spicy dishes, including a variety of lentils, vegetables, and rice.

Specialities include Pav Bhaji, Misal Pav, Vada Pav, and Sabudana Khichdi, which are popular not just among locals but also among tourists.

Maharashtra celebrates numerous festivals with great enthusiasm, and many of these occasions feature special dishes.

For example, during Ganesh Chaturthi, a widely celebrated festival in Maharashtra, modak (a sweet dumpling) is prepared as an offering to Lord Ganesha.

Cities like Mumbai and Pune are cosmopolitan and home to people from various cultural backgrounds, leading to a demand for diverse vegetarian options.

These cities offer a plethora of vegetarian restaurants, cafes, and street food options catering to all tastes and preferences.

Maharashtra, especially its urban centres, has seen a rise in vegetarian and vegan eateries, organic cafes, and health food stores catering to this demand.

Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh’s cuisine has been heavily influenced by Mughal cooking techniques, resulting in a unique blend of flavours.

Vegetarian dishes like aloo puri (spicy potato curry with fried bread), kachori sabzi, and various chaats are popular.

The holy city of Varanasi offers a range of options, given its religious significance and large number of temples.

Uttar Pradesh, a state rich in history, culture, and tradition, is also a vegetarian-friendly travel destination for several reasons.

It is a spiritual heartland of India, home to significant religious cities like Varanasi, Mathura, and Ayodhya.

These cities are important to Hinduism and Jainism, religions that often advocate for a vegetarian lifestyle.

While the Awadhi and Mughlai cuisine, is known for their kebabs and meat dishes, they also offer an array of exquisite vegetarian options.

Dishes like vegetable biryanis, paneer kormas, and various daals (lentil preparations) are popular among locals and tourists alike.

In terms of street food, the scene is vibrant, with a plethora of options.

Cities like Lucknow, Varanasi, and Agra are famous for their chaats, samosas, kachoris, and sweets, most of which are vegetarian.

This abundance is reflected in the fresh and delectable dishes available across Uttar Pradesh.

The concept of the Sattvic diet, which is prominent in Hindu philosophy, emphasises food that is pure, essential, natural, vital, energy-containing, and clean.

Many locals follow this diet, especially in the spiritual cities, leading to a prevalence of vegetarian and Sattvic food options that are not only healthy but also align with spirituality.

Karachi

As the largest city in Pakistan, Karachi is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines.

The city offers a wide range of vegetarian options, from traditional Sindhi and Punjabi dishes to international cuisines.

Vegetarian travellers can explore areas like Clifton and Saddar, where many restaurants offer vegetarian dishes, including vegetable biryanis, daal (lentils), and a variety of vegetable curries.

Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, offers a vibrant and diverse culinary scene.

Karachi is a cosmopolitan city that is home to people from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

This diversity is reflected in its food scene, with a multitude of options that draw from Sindhi, Punjabi, Mughlai, and international cuisines.

The city’s restaurants, street food stalls, and markets offer a diverse range of vegetarian dishes.

From traditional Pakistani vegetarian curries and dals (lentil dishes) to Sindhi specialities and a variety of international vegetarian cuisines, there’s something for every palate.

Karachi is famous for its street food, which includes a variety of options.

Snacks like samosas, pakoras (fried vegetable fritters), and chaats (savoury snack mixes) are widely available and popular among both locals and tourists.

Karachi’s location near agricultural areas ensures a steady supply of fresh vegetables and fruits.

This availability supports a rich vegetarian cuisine, with dishes that highlight the freshness and flavour of local produce.

While Muslims are the majority, Karachi also has Hindu and Jain communities, whose dietary practices include vegetarianism.

The presence of these communities contributes to the demand for vegetarian food and influences the availability of vegetarian dining options.

Karachi hosts various food festivals and culinary events throughout the year, many of which feature vegetarian cuisine.

These events are great opportunities for vegetarians to explore new dishes and flavours.

Lahore

Known as the cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore has a rich history and a vibrant food scene.

The Old City area, in particular, is a haven for food lovers, with numerous options for vegetarians.

There are specialities like chana masala (spicy chickpeas), aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry), and various lentil dishes.

Dishes like chana chaat (spicy chickpea salad), gol gappay (crispy dough balls filled with tangy water, chickpeas, and potatoes), and vegetable samosas are popular among vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Lahore is also famous for its street food.

Lahore is a cosmopolitan city with a mix of different cultures and religions, including Hindu and Sikh communities, where vegetarianism is more common.

This diversity is reflected in the city’s food offerings.

The city’s history as a cultural hub for centuries has led to a rich culinary tradition that includes a variety of vegetarian dishes.

 Mughlai cuisine, with its emphasis on aromatic spices, offers many options that have been adapted and enjoyed in Lahore.

Punjab, the province in which Lahore is located, is known as the “breadbasket” of Pakistan.

The abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits supports a rich cuisine.

Many dishes are based on seasonal produce, ensuring freshness and flavour.

Lahore hosts numerous cultural and food festivals throughout the year, many of which feature cuisine.

These events are great opportunities for vegetarians to explore a wide range of dishes.

Islamabad

The capital city of Pakistan offers a more modern dining scene with a good selection of vegetarian restaurants and cafes.

The city’s diverse international community has influenced its culinary landscape, making it easier to find vegetarian dishes from around the world.

Pizzas, pasta, and Asian vegetarian dishes are readily available in areas like F-7 Sector and Blue Area.

As a city with a significant expatriate and diplomatic community, Islamabad has a diverse culinary scene that includes restaurants offering international cuisine.

From Italian to Chinese and Middle Eastern, there are numerous options for vegetarians seeking variety.

The city’s modern cafes and restaurants often feature vegetarian and vegan options on their menus, catering to the health-conscious and those preferring plant-based diets.

Islamabad benefits from its proximity to agricultural areas of Pakistan, ensuring a steady supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.

This abundance is reflected in the quality and variety of vegetarian dishes available, with many restaurants emphasising fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Islamabad, being a cosmopolitan city, accommodates diverse dietary practices, such as Hindi, Islam and Jain, making it easier to find vegetarian food.

Chefs in Islamabad are increasingly experimenting with vegetarian recipes, incorporating traditional spices and cooking techniques to create innovative and flavoursome dishes.

This includes fusion cuisine that blends elements from different culinary traditions, offering unique experiences for vegetarians.

Rawalpindi

Adjacent to Islamabad, Rawalpindi has a bustling food scene that caters to all tastes.

The city’s markets and food streets offer a variety of traditional Pakistani vegetarian dishes.

The Raja Bazaar, in particular, is a place where you can enjoy vegetarian street food, including sweet treats like jalebi and savoury snacks like vegetable samosas.

Rawalpindi, often paired with its neighbouring city Islamabad as the twin cities, offers a variety of reasons that make it a vegetarian-friendly travel destination.

Rawalpindi has a rich history and cultural diversity, with influences from various migrations and the military.

This diversity is reflected in its culinary scene, which includes a variety of vegetarian options influenced by different regions of Pakistan and neighbouring countries.

The city’s bustling food scene includes numerous vegetarian-friendly street foods and dishes.

From chaats, samosas, and pakoras to a variety of vegetable curries and lentil dishes, vegetarians have plenty of options to choose from.

The Punjab region, where Rawalpindi is located, is known for its fertile lands and agricultural produce.

This ensures a steady supply of fresh vegetables and fruits, which are central to the cuisine.

Many local dishes are prepared using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, enhancing their flavour and nutritional value.

Rawalpindi is known for its traditional eateries and dhabas (roadside restaurants) that offer authentic Pakistani dishes, many of which are vegetarian.

These family-run establishments provide home-style cooking, with vegetarian options that are both delicious and affordable.

Multan

Known as the City of Saints, Multan is famous for its Sufi shrines and rich history.

The city’s cuisine includes a variety of vegetarian dishes that reflect the influence of Sufism, which often promotes simplicity and modesty in food.

Vegetarian visitors can enjoy dishes like baingan ka bharta (mashed eggplant), sarson ka saag (mustard greens curry), and makki di roti (cornbread).

Multan, known as the City of Saints due to its wealth of Sufi shrines and spiritual heritage, is also a vegetarian-friendly travel destination for several reasons.

The city’s strong Sufi culture, with its emphasis on simplicity and purity, extends to food habits as well.

Sufi practices often encourage vegetarianism or simplicity in diet, making vegetarian food widely available and respected in the area.

Multan’s local cuisine includes a variety of vegetarian dishes that reflect the region’s agricultural bounty and culinary heritage.

Dishes like Baingan ka Bharta (mashed eggplant), Sarson ka Saag (mustard greens curry), and Makki di Roti (cornbread) are popular and deeply ingrained in the local food culture.

The area around Multan is fertile and produces a wide range of fruits and vegetables.

This abundance of fresh produce means that vegetarian dishes are not only common but also feature fresh ingredients.

The city’s culinary practices have been influenced by various civilisations over the centuries, including a focus on vegetarian cuisine that caters to the spiritual and health-conscious.

While traditional meat dishes are also popular, many eateries in Multan offer a selection of options.

There’s a growing trend towards healthier eating habits in Pakistan, including in Multan.

This has led to an increased availability of vegetarian and plant-based options in cafes and restaurants, catering to the health-conscious and those preferring a vegetarian diet.

Israel

Tel Aviv, in particular, is known as a vegetarian paradise, with a plethora of restaurants offering plant-based Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.

Israel is recognised as a vegetarian-friendly travel destination for several reasons, drawing from its diverse cultural influences, religious practices, and a strong focus on fresh, plant-based cuisine.

Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut) and Muslim dietary laws (Halal) both influence the food culture in Israel.

While not exclusively vegetarian, these practices contribute to a widespread understanding and respect for dietary restrictions, including vegetarianism.

Israel has one of the highest percentages of vegetarians per capita in the world.

The traditional Israeli diet is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean diet, which emphasises fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains.

Dishes like hummus, falafel, baba ganoush, and salads are inherently vegetarian and form a staple part of the cuisine.

Israel’s population is diverse, with Jewish diaspora communities from around the world bringing their unique culinary traditions.

This has resulted in a tapestry of food options, including many dishes.

Israel’s advanced agricultural technologies and practices mean that a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are available year-round.

This abundance of fresh produce is a boon for vegetarian cuisine, ensuring that dishes are both delicious and nutritious.

Given the high demand, Israel boasts a large number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants.

Cities like Tel Aviv are known for their vibrant food scenes, with eateries ranging from casual vegan street food stalls to high-end vegetarian restaurants.

There’s a strong culture of health and wellness in Israel, with many people choosing vegetarian or vegan diets for health reasons.

This has led to a proliferation of health food stores, juice bars, and vegetarian-friendly cafes.

Israel’s food markets and festivals are a paradise for vegetarians, offering a wide range of local produce and vegetarian street food options.

The Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, for example, is a must-visit for food lovers.

Thailand

While Thai cuisine is known for its fish sauce, many places, especially in cities like Chiang Mai and Bangkok, offer vegetarian versions of traditional dishes, including curries, pad Thai, and tropical fruit-based desserts.

Thai cuisine offers an array of inherently vegetarian dishes that are both abundant in flavour and satisfying.

Staples such as Pad Thai, green curry, and papaya salad can easily be made vegetarian while retaining their authentic taste.

Tofu and tempeh are commonly used in Thai cooking, providing protein-rich alternatives to meat in many dishes.

These ingredients are versatile and can be found in street food, casual eateries, and upscale restaurants alike.

Thailand is home to the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival, a nine-day event celebrated with great enthusiasm.

During this time, many Thais adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, and numerous food stalls and restaurants offer vegetarian dishes, making it an ideal time for vegetarians to visit.

Thailand’s tropical climate allows for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to be available year-round.

This abundance is reflected in the freshness and variety of the vegetarian dishes offered.

Thailand’s vibrant street food culture includes many vegetarian options.

From fresh fruit and vegetable skewers to savoury snacks like spring rolls and sweet treats like mango sticky rice, there’s no shortage of vegetarian street food to enjoy.

As a predominantly Buddhist country, vegetarianism is part of Thailand’s cultural and religious fabric.

Many Thais observe Buddhist days and festivals by eating vegetarian meals, and vegetarian food is often available at Buddhist temples.

Recognising the dietary preferences of international visitors, many Thai restaurants and hotels offer vegetarian and vegan menu options.

English menus often indicate vegetarian dishes, and staff are usually accommodating in modifying dishes to meet vegetarian requirements.

Italy

Italy’s cuisine offers a wide range of vegetarian options beyond just pizza and pasta.

Regions like Tuscany and Sicily use fresh vegetables, legumes, and cheeses in their traditional dishes, providing a rich selection for vegetarians.

Italian cuisine offers an abundance of vegetarian options.

Dishes like pasta, pizza, risotto, and polenta can be found in countless variations across the country.

Ingredients such as tomatoes, olives, aubergines, artichokes, and an array of cheeses like mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano are central to Italian cooking, providing a rich base for vegetarian meals.

Each region in Italy has its unique dishes and specialities.

For example, Tuscany is known for its simple, hearty dishes like ribollita (a thick vegetable soup), while Liguria is famous for pesto genovese, made with fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and olive oil.

Vegetarians will delight in the variety and quality of fruits and vegetables available, which form the basis of Italian cuisine.

With the growing global trend towards vegetarianism and veganism, many Italian restaurants now offer vegetarian and vegan menu options.

Even traditional establishments are willing to accommodate dietary preferences, making it easier for vegetarians to dine out.

The Mediterranean diet, which is prevalent in Italy, is celebrated for its health benefits.

Italy hosts various vegetarian and vegan festivals throughout the year, where attendees can enjoy vegetarian food, attend cooking classes, and participate in workshops

Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan, is renowned for its vegetarian-friendly culture, heavily influenced by Buddhist principles.

The city offers numerous restaurants featuring traditional Taiwanese dishes made from tofu, mushrooms, and greens.

A significant portion of Taiwan’s population adheres to Buddhism and Taoism, religions that often encourage vegetarianism or have vegetarian practices.

This religious influence has led to a high prevalence of vegetarianism in the country.

Taiwan has a strong awareness of vegetarianism and veganism, supported by both religious beliefs and growing health consciousness.

This has fostered a culture that is very accommodating to vegetarians.

Taipei, the capital city, is particularly noted for its extensive range of dining options, from street food stalls to high-end restaurants.

The Taiwanese government has actively promoted vegetarianism and healthy eating habits through various initiatives and campaigns.

This includes support for vegetarian festivals and events, as well as educational programs on the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Taiwan is home to several Buddhist vegetarian festivals, where people can enjoy a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes.

These festivals not only celebrate religious traditions but also promote vegetarian cuisine to a broader audience.

Taiwanese cuisine emphasises fresh, seasonal ingredients.

The island’s fertile land produces a bounty of fruits and vegetables, which are staples in Taiwanese cooking.

This ensures that dishes are not only healthy but also diverse.

Vegetarian versions of popular Taiwanese snacks, such as stinky tofu, vegetable dumplings, and bubble tea, are widely available.

Ethiopia

Ethiopian cuisine has a rich selection of vegetarian dishes due to fasting traditions that exclude meat on certain days.

Dishes like injera (sourdough flatbread) served with a variety of stews are widely available.

Ethiopia is a vegetarian-friendly travel destination for several reasons, deeply rooted in its cultural, religious practices, and culinary traditions.

A significant portion of the Ethiopian population follows Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, which prescribes numerous fasting days throughout the year.

During these fasting periods, adherents abstain from eating animal products, making vegetarian and vegan dishes widely available and integral to Ethiopian cuisine.

The fasting tradition has led to a rich variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes in Ethiopian cuisine.

Foods like injera (a sourdough flatbread), lentil stews, vegetable curries, and salads are commonly consumed.

Dishes such as Shiro Wat (a thick stew made from ground chickpeas or broad bean meal), Misir Wat (spicy lentil stew), and Gomen (collard greens) are staples in the Ethiopian diet.

Injera, made from teff flour, is not only a gluten-free alternative to wheat but also serves as the base for most Ethiopian meals.

It’s used to scoop up stews and salads, making it a versatile and integral part of the dining experience.

Ethiopia’s diverse climate and fertile lands produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, ensuring that dishes are made with fresh ingredients.

This abundance supports a diet rich in plant-based foods.

These travel destinations are vegetarian-friendly, due to the ingredients in the food and the cultural influences.

Vegetarian food is abundant in nutrition and provides good health for the consumer.

There are many different palates so there is something for everyone.



Kamilah is an experienced actress, radio presenter and qualified in Drama & Musical Theatre. She loves debating and her passions include arts, music, food poetry and singing.

Images courtesy of Cox & Kings, Kuoni, Britannica, India.com, Facts.net, Qatar Airways, Traveler.Marriott, Travel & Leisure, Delicious.com and Meet Global.





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